Wednesday, January 25, 2017
New Challenges for 2017
On one of my tables I have one pile of ceramic and polymer clay jewellery in various stages of completion, and a second pile of half-made components and findings, and the kiln is annealing stacks of lampwork glass beads. Another bench is buried beneath a huge heap of half-finished polymer clay pendants and charms, waiting for me to complete the painting I started before the Christmas rush.
On another table, several trays of resin-coated flowers and butterfly wings have been drying since November - one day I’ll turn them into charms and earrings. Several fistfuls of horsehair are soaking in the sink - eventually they’ll be braided into bracelets. And somewhere there is a gold fill chain maille necklace I started, to replace one I thought had got lost in the post (it hadn’t), and 3 pearl necklaces that I’ve been asked to restring. I could go on, but you get the idea. Thank heavens I have such a large studio!
Perhaps then, what I really need is to be more focused? This challenge is working slightly better. First of all I joined a Jewellery Makeover Bootcamp. It was interesting and I picked up a few tips, but it wasn’t really what I was looking for - I’m not aiming to outsource all my production, or have a host of people working for me - I’m very happy being a self-employed one-man-band.
More suited to my way of working is the B’sue Boutiques 2017 Build a Line Challenge, which I enrolled for in an attempt to focus my vintage style jewellery more effectively (ah yes, did I forget to mention that I have several million vintage rhinestones, and also produce a range of vintage style jewellery?).
Continuing my efforts to be more focused, I’ve also signed up for the 2017 Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop. Here I’ll really be working outside my comfort zone, as I’ve never done this sort of thing before, and I’m hoping this will encourage me to use up some of the existing supplies I’ve accumulated over the decades, rather than buy even more! Bead Peeps is a Facebook group, and the Swap’n’Hop involves being assigned a partner to exchange beads and findings with. After all the participants have received their goodie bags, they make one or more pieces and on a specified date, they post photos of their creations on their blogs. Everyone then hops from blog to blog to see what everyone else has made, and drooling over all the beautiful designs!
Anyway, for both of these challenges I’ve had to think about and consider what my "style" really is. This is causing me a lot of grief, because I don’t like to be pigeonholed. I suppose my style could be regarded as eclectic, and I guess my lampwork jewellery could be regarded as colourful. I do love colour, but much prefer subdued and subtle shades - I don't really enjoy working with hot vibrant colours or neons. I guess I'm quite traditional really and my vintage creations reflect this, revealing influences from times gone by. And my resin, ceramic and polymer clay creations are more eclectic and nature-inspired. My silver work varies, but none of my designs could be classed as leading edge or pioneering, and I’m most definitely not a cold, clinical minimalist!
You’re probably wondering what don’t I like to use in my creations! Well, since I’ve got expensive tastes my no-no list is probably endless! But I only use Swarovski & Preciosa crystals, tend to steer clear of plated base metals, and rarely use seed beads (never mastered bead embroidery!). Apart from that I never, ever use Indian or Chinese glass beads, rhinestone studded beads (unless I made them, or they’re high end vintage), plastic, acrylic or resin items of any sort (again, unless I made them myself or they’re super quality vintage) - in other words - I generally only use the materials I mentioned in the previous paragraph! Now I come to think of it, pity the poor person who gets me as their “2017 Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop partner!” Watch this space!
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